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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Alexei Kononets and His Custom Moskvichs

Posted November 29, 2011 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Things got a little weird in Russia about 10 years ago. It was the equivalent of our custom van era, when the the first generation to come of age after glasnost combined with the nouveau riche, started having access to Western idioms and created wild graphics, bizarre customs and over-the-top conversions.

Because the country had limited Internet penetration and we don't have a library of Russian customizing magazines floating around, it can be tough to pin down any one car. So when I was looking at some old bookmarks and saw "six-wheeled Moskvich," I thought it'd be worth seeing if I could turn anything up.

What I found was one Алексей Кононец - Alexei Kononets - and his Moscow-based custom house Манон и Ко, or Manon and Co. Between 1999 and 2003 I've found four customs from him - three Moskvichs and a shorty Mercedes-Benz 190E.

Тёма ("Subject," above, named for his dog) I think from 2002 is the best-documented. It's a 1955 (maybe) Moskvich 412 with a tri-axle conversion and saxaphone for a horn. Build videos show it appears to have been done in aluminum, not glass.

Контрастъ ("Contrast"), 1999, is a Moskvich 401, which I believe he's indicated uses almost entirely stock materials, except for seats.

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